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U.S. official on Iran nuke talks: 'Until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed'

A senior U.S. Department of State official said Thursday that the latest round of Iranian nuclear negotiations in Vienna "remain very intense, very focused, very concrete" while acknowledging that "Until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed."

By JC Finley
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry participates in a trilateral meeting with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, on October 15, 2014. (Twitter/U.S. Department of State)
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry participates in a trilateral meeting with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna, Austria, on October 15, 2014. (Twitter/U.S. Department of State)

VIENNA, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- As delegates from the P5+1 -- five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States) plus Germany -- gather in Vienna for the eighth round of Iranian nuclear negotiations, a senior U.S. Department of State official commented on the status of the talks.

"What these negotiations are about is whether Iran is willing to take verifiable actions to show the world that their program is indeed exclusively for peaceful purposes," the official explained.

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The quest for concrete assurances has been at issue throughout the last year of negotiations. In July, as talks stalled, Secretary of State John Kerry sought assurances from Iranian Foreign Minister and nuclear negotiator Javad Zarif "not just to declare that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon, but to demonstrate in the actions they take beyond any reasonable doubt that any Iranian nuclear program, now and going forward, is exclusively for peaceful purposes."

As of Thursday, the official noted "The discussions remain very intense, very focused, very concrete" while cautioning that "Until everything is agreed, nothing is agreed."

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"... you can get 98 percent of the way there and the last two percent may kill the entire deal. So you've got to get it all or you don't have an agreement, so you constantly are getting closer and then you move away because you have to manage another element, and then you find your way back again until all the pieces come together."

Despite the tentative nature of the negotiations, the official said the Nov. 24 deadline will not be extended.

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